Former Oklahoma star quarterback Dillon Gabriel will continue his college football career at Oregon. After entering the transfer portal earlier this week, one of the nation's top signal callers this past season has decided to succeed Heisman Trophy finalist Bo Nix with the Ducks. Gabriel's move comes as Oregon prepares to leave its longtime home in the Pac-12 for the Big Ten in 2024.
Gabriel had a career year with Oklahoma in 2023, completing 69.3% of his passes for 3,660 yards with 30 touchdowns to only six interceptions. He also rushed for 373 yards and another 12 scores, crossing the end zone with his feet twice as many times as he did in his 2022 campaign with the Sooners.
Gabriel started his career at UCF before transferring to Oklahoma ahead of the 2022 season. He is rated as the No. 30 overall transfer in the 247Sports Transfer Rankings and has one year of eligibility remaining. He has passed for more than 14,000 yards in his NCAA career between stops with the Knights and Sooners.
Gabriel has posted 3,000-yard passing seasons four times in his career, including both his years at Oklahoma. He previously passed for 3,168 yards and 25 touchdowns to just six interceptions during his first year with the Sooners in 2022, missing one game due to a concussion. Gabriel suffered another upper body injury during Oklahoma's Week 12 win at BYU that forced him to miss the second half of that contest, but he started as scheduled the following the week.
Prior to Oklahoma, Gabriel passed for 8,037 yards and 70 touchdowns against 14 interceptions while at UCF. His third and final season with the Knights in 2021 was cut short after he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury early on in the year.
Oregon QB room gets major boost
Replacing Nix seemed like a near-impossible task for Oregon after the Auburn transfer went off during the 2023 regular season. He threw for 4,145 yards and 40 touchdowns to just three interceptions as the Ducks finished as the Pac-12 runner-up. In landing Gabriel, Oregon coach Dan Lanning did just that. Gabriel's 14,865 career passing yards rank No. 8 all-time in the FBS -- one spot behind Nix -- and that number could easily be even higher if not for his season-ending injury in 2021.
The Ducks add to what many already considered to be an excess of talent in the quarterback room. Former four-star prospect Ty Thompson will be entering his fourth season on campus in 2024. Austin Novosad, a four-star signee in the 2023 cycle, also still has four years of eligibility remaining after redshirting this season. The immediate question becomes whether all three will be in Eugene come kickoff for the 2024 campaign. One might think Thompson and/or Novosad explore other options. In the big picture, it's still an enviable position for Lanning's staff.
Gabriel can be Big Ten's top QB in 2024
With that track record of production, Gabriel positions himself well -- at least as of this moment -- for a chance to emerge as the Big Ten's top quarterback in 2024. Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. is out of eligibility after the Huskies compete in the upcoming College Football Playoff and USC quarterback Caleb Williams is likely to declare for the 2024 NFL Draft as both those programs join the Ducks in making the move to the Big Ten.
Of the existing Big Ten members, Michigan has the most decorated quarterback in J.J. McCarthy, but McCarthy's plans for 2024 have not been determined as the Wolverines prepare to compete in the College Football Playoff. The landscape can also change quickly as schools turn to the transfer portal to add depth, so Gabriel's full list of in-conference competition at quarterback likely won't be clear until the new year.
That said, Oregon should have one of the Big Ten's top offenses as long as Gabriel stays healthy.